Jun 5th, 2012 by Annie
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
|Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
The four Batiste siblings are living in a run down house on what remains of their grandparents once thriving farm. Their mother died in childbirth and their neglectful father is oftentimes too tired or too drunk to tend to the needs of the children.
High school basketball star Randall, dog-loving and sensitive Skeetah, only girl Esh, and the baby Junior nurture and support each other in fictional Bois Sauvage, Mississippi.
This tale is narrated by the insightful 14-year-old Esh and unfolds over a twelve day period in August 2005, during which the deadly Hurricane Katrina makes landfall.
Book Club Ideas
Book club parties should always be a time of celebrating the written word, a time of sharing ideas and feelings about the chosen book, and a time of camaraderie, no matter how difficult the novel.
Decorating ideas for Salvage the Bones can follow a hurricane party theme and include lighting candles and hurricane lamps to provide a soft glow as your book club guests arrive to wait out the storm.
Here are a couple of mp3 downloads that can create a stormy atmosphere. Hurricane (Storm, Nature Sounds) is very realistic sounding, which I found a bit unnerving, and The Perfect Storm – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, which is much more tame and melodious.
Book Club Menu
Ramen noodles were top of the list for emergency food staples being gathered by the Batiste children. Also included were Vienna Sausages, and eggs from their hen house.
Junior snacked on his ramen noodles raw, but since plain raw ramen noodles are pretty blah and boring to serve at a party, I would suggest this delicious and crunchy Spicy and Sweet Ramen Noodle Snack Mix instead.
Esh prepared boiled eggs before the gathering storm. You can take boiled eggs a step further and prepare these Eye of the Storm Deviled Eggs for your book club party. I piped the yolk mixture into the egg whites in a swirl to create the circular motion of a hurricane and placed a black olive in the center of the swirl for the hurricane’s eye. My piping skills could use a little finesse, but I think you can get the idea.
If you have any appetizing suggestions for dressing up Vienna Sausages, please let me know!
Hurricane Cake is a fabulously rich and decadent dessert. I’m not sure why it’s called hurricane cake, other than the fact it can wreak havoc on your waistline.
Ice down some bottled waters (another emergency staple) and prepare a batch of Hurricanes. The fruity rum-based hurricane originated at the still popular Pat O’Brien’s bar around 1940. Click here for a recipe for hurricanes from Emeril Lagasse or here to purchase Pat O’Brien’s World Famous Hurricane Cocktail Mix.
The glassware pictured above is actually a Pat O’Brien’s cyclone glass. The hurricane cocktail should be served in a hurricane glass.
Book Club Resources
Ratings at the time this post was published
|Goodreads: 3.84 stars (2237 ratings)|
|Amazon: 4.1 stars (84 ratings)|
|LibraryThing: 3.87 stars (84 ratings)|
|My Rating: 4.5 stars I was very moved and shaken by Salvage the Bones. Esh’s narration was heartbreaking, brutal and shocking, but I never lost hope for the Batiste children. Salvage the Bones is a beautiful, lyrical novel.|
- Discuss the ways in which Esh relates to the classical Greek story Medea and how she uses the story to define herself and her relationship with her family, and most notably with Manny.
- Skeetah is devoted to his dog China. How does the love he feels for China contrast with the violent dog fights he places China in? Can you reconcile those differences?
- How did you feel about the ending of this novel? Where you left feeling hopeful or hopeless?
- Esh’s promiscuity was quite shocking especially considering her age. Discuss Esh’s situation and the factors that contribute to her attitudes toward sex.
- What does the novel’s title, Salvage the Bones, mean?
The Comprehensive Reading Group Guide can be found in the novel’s appendix or at LitLovers.com.
Purchase Salvage the Bones at your favorite bookseller
Jesmyn Ward grew up DeLisle, Mississippi and received her MFA from the University of Mississippi. Jesmyn’s 2001 National Book Award winner, Salvage the Bones, follows her highly acclaimed debut novel, Where the Line Blends.
You can learn more about Jesmyn on her blog Jesmimi.
Other Works by Author and Recommended Reading
“She left us as dark Gulf and salt-burned land. She left us to learn to crawl. She left us to salvage. Katrina is the mother we will remember until the next mother with large, merciless hands, committed to blood, comes.”
“She will look down on the circle of light we have made in the pit, and she will know that I have kept watch, that I have fought. China will bark and call me sister. In the star-suffocated sky, there is a great waiting silence.”
“She will know that I am a mother.”
Do you have any other ideas or recipes for a book club party for Salvage the Bones? We would love to have you share them with us! You can leave a comment below and upload pictures as well.
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